5 fitness reality checks

5 fitness reality checks

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Not getting the results you want from your training program? Time to take a fitness reality check with these expert-backed tips from personal trainer Andrew Cate.

1. Get off your phone

A workout is about maximising the time you invest in exercise. Why then waste that time chatting on the phone or checking for messages? 

Leave the phone at home, and direct your energies towards your workout. By all means, take a phone to the gym if you use it to play music, train using a fitness app, or if you are expecting an urgent call. 

But if you still have the energy to send a text or talk to a friend while cruising on an exercise bike, then it might be time for a new approach. 

A phone can distract you from the task at hand, and distract other gym goes who have to hear your conversation. 

2. You can't train away a bad diet

Sure, exercise is important, but it's almost impossible to train away a bad diet

There's a reason why they say abs are made in the kitchen. Give up the search for a miracle supplement or celebrity diet secret. If you want quality results, your body needs quality fuel. 

Make your house a junk food free zone, and seek out recipes loaded with low starch vegetables, lean protein and moderate portions of quality carbohydrates. 

Drink water instead of juice or soft drink, and keep alcohol to a minimum to get the most out of your training and recovery. 

Get organised with your food by planning meals in advance, and shop to a list.

3. Rest less between exercises

You might spend 60 - 90 minutes at the gym, but how much time do actually spend exercising? 

After all, there's other members to talk to, slow walks between machines, and rest breaks between exercises. Yet these frequent delays in your workout could make results harder to come by. 

Instead, make your workouts more efficient by reducing any rest time. Keep an eye on the clock to keep the length of your breaks to a minimum. It adds a new level of intensity, and will burn more calories. 

A rule of thumb is that the lighter your workout, the lest rest between exercises you will need. Even if you need a good break after heavy weights or intense interval training, use your time well by performing stretches, or taking small sips of water to rehydrate. 

4. Stop making excuses

Do you always have a reason why you can't exercise today, or why you can't eat healthier this weekend? 

Excuse making can become a bad habit, and excuses will not translate into results. 

Everyone is busy with multiple priorities, and everyone can find an excuse not to exercise. But for every excuse, there is an alternative mindset. 

Why not channel your energy towards solving problems, and find a solution that crushes any excuse? 

Take responsibility and take action by making fitness a priority. Look for ways to include more activity in your day, and take the steps needed to achieve your goals.

5. Understand that effort equals reward

You may have heard of high intensity interval training (HITT), but some people interpret the meaning of "high intensity" very differently. 

While there's an argument that any exercise is better than none, low intensity training is hardly going to transform your body or improve performance levels. If you want to look like an athlete, you need to train like an athlete. 

Effort equals reward. Push your body to the next level by setting challenges, and constantly strive to beat personal best times and distances. A training partner can be a good gauge to your intensity, offering motivational support and some friendly competition.